HARARE - Zimbabwe’s political parties Tuesday signed a “peace pledge” committing to peaceful campaigns for the July 30 general election.
Zimbabwe’s political parties sing the national anthem before signing a “peace pledge” the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission says is aimed at ending violence that characterized the country’s previous elections.
Absent from the ceremony Tuesday were the two leading candidates for the July 30 election, President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ZANU-PF party and Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance - a coalition of opposition parties.
MDC-Alliance Secretary-General Douglas Mwonzora said the candidates were represented by party leaders.
"So, the national chairpersons of political parties are key people in the maintenance of peace within political party and they are also key people in the inter-party relations and we hope that this will be more organic. We will build the national trust that is necessary. For a long time our politics was enmeshed in toxic issues of hate, intimidation, violence, corruption and subterfuge. We hope this signing ceremony brings a new era and a new politics to our country”
Zimbabwe Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu, who represented Mnangagwa, commented on the “peace pledge.”
“To us it confirms what we have been saying and what our president has been saying about conduct of electioneering and mobilization of people towards our harmonized elections that they should be peaceful, free of violence and credible without any impediment of other people's rights. So, we are quite happy that this pledge has been signed or is going to be signed by those who aspire for peace in our conduct of elections.”
Police dragged the leader of the 1980 Freedom Movement party, Francis Danha, out of the ceremony for protesting that the July 30th elections are a sham unless the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission resigns.
“We should not go and participate in an election which is rigged and which is flawed. We should not go on and participate in an election which we know they are already the whistleblowers and they are biased," he said. "We should not allow a flawed process. I am not talking as a person who is intending to win an election. I am talking as a responsible citizen. We should have a message which we will teach our children and children's children that if you want to be a leader in Zimbabwe how do you go about it. The how part of it is what we are supposed to clearly answer in 2018.”
Opposition parties have long accused the ruling ZANU-PF party of manipulating the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to ensure victory at the polls.